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Duane Morris Welcomes Employment Partners Gerald L. Maatman Jr. and Jennifer A. Riley in Chicago

September 21, 2022

Duane Morris Welcomes Employment Partners Gerald L. Maatman Jr. and Jennifer A. Riley in Chicago

September 21, 2022

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CHICAGO, September 21, 2022Gerald L. Maatman, Jr. and Jennifer A. Riley have joined as partners in Duane Morris LLP’s Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration Practice Group in its Chicago office. Maatman will chair the newly formed Workplace Class Action Group division within the firm’s employment practice, and Riley will serve as vice chair. Prior to joining Duane Morris, Maatman and Riley were partners at Seyfarth Shaw LLP. Additional partners, associates and staff on their national class action team have joined Duane Morris as well. Partner Michael DeMarino, special counsel Brandon L. Spurlock and associates Aaron A. Bauer, Alex W. Karasik, Gregory Tsonis and Tyler Z. Zmick have joined in Chicago and special counsel Rebecca S. Bjork has joined in Washington, D.C.

“With a nationally prominent practice and client base, Jerry, Jen, Mike and their team are acclaimed talents who are game changers in the class action arena and add significantly to our innovative global platform,” said Duane Morris Chairman and CEO Matthew A. Taylor. “These are exciting times for our firm as we continue to accelerate our strategic growth plan. We are ready to get to work with this stellar team as a part of Duane Morris’ marquee litigation practice.

“Our internationally renowned employment practice is recognized and sought after by clients who are facing complex, bet-the-company matters,” said Eve I. Klein, chair of Duane Morris’ Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration Practice Group. “With a track record of victories in nationwide class action matters throughout the country, Jerry, Jen and their team are highly skilled attorneys and strategists who add a whole new dimension to our firm’s class action capabilities.”

“With this group’s dynamic practice, we are adding substantial capability to our U.S. offices, generating many new synergies and opportunities on behalf of our client base in Chicago and beyond,” said John Robert Weiss, managing partner of the Duane Morris Chicago office.

“Duane Morris offers an exceptional platform to support the broad needs of our client base and we are excited to develop new relationships within and beyond the employment-related class action realm,” said Maatman. “With its ingrained culture of collaboration and industry-focused business development strategy, we are expecting to expand and accelerate our class action and bet-the-company litigation practice as a part of Duane Morris.”

Throughout nearly four decades of practicing law, Gerald L. Maatman Jr. has defended some of the most significant bet-the-company cases ever filed against corporate America. He has represented companies, executive teams and boards across the country in class action litigation, ranging in size from thousands to hundreds of thousands of claims by employees. Among his accomplishments, he successfully defended and defeated the largest systemic action ever brought in the history of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the first attorney general prosecution of a Wall Street company for workplace harassment and the largest wage-and-hour collective actions ever brought in New York and Florida. While Maatman is known to be a fierce litigator, he also helps his clients anticipate litigation risks before they happen and prevent issues that could turn into litigation. Maatman pioneered the process of conducting employment-practices audits to assist employers in structuring effective and practical personnel policies and protocols. These audits are designed to minimize the incidence of employment-related class action litigation and to maximize management discretion and workplace productivity. In addition to serving as an adjunct professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law, he has also served as a legal commentator on PBS, NPR, MSNBC, CNBC and U.S. Talk Radio, and his comments have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Business Insurance, USA Today, Fortune and Forbes.

Maatman also writes and lectures extensively on class action and employment litigation topics. He has authored six books on employment law topics and has spoken to employer groups throughout the United States, as well as in Asia, Europe, Canada and Mexico. Maatman is the editor-in-chief of a widely circulated, highly regarded industry class action report, published yearly since 2003. The report, called “the class action Bible that no practitioner should do without” by Employment Practices Liability Consultant (EPLiC) and widely praised for its sharp analysis backed by comprehensive research, helps corporate employers navigate an increasingly volatile class action landscape. Maatman is recognized regularly by legal publications for his excellent work on behalf of clients. He is the 2021 Law360 MVP for Employment Law, which is his sixth such honor from Law360 since 2013. Winners of this accolade have distinguished themselves from their peers by securing impressive successes in high-stakes litigation, complex global matters and record-breaking deals. Overall, Maatman has received more Law360 MVP awards than any other attorney in America. Chambers praised him as “an absolutely phenomenal class action defense litigator.”

Maatman is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law (J.D., 1981), where he is an adjunct professor, and Washington and Lee University (B.A., magna cum laude, 1978).

For more than two decades, Jennifer A. Riley has defended businesses faced with significant complex litigation matters. She regularly defends companies facing class actions, collective actions, pattern or practice lawsuits and other types of representative proceedings, ranging in size from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of claims. Riley regularly develops strategies for navigating some of the largest challenges faced by corporate America today. Riley has successfully defended a multitude of actions by securing dismissal, defeating class or collective action certification, prevailing on summary judgment, and structuring and securing approval of complex and multiparty settlements and consent decrees. 

She also routinely counsels employers confronted with a range of complex employment law theories that span from claims of discrimination and sexual harassment to alleged wage-and-hour violations and privacy-related claims. She is a regular author, speaker and presenter regarding developments in the law and challenges on the horizon. Riley has been recognized by JD Supra as one of the top 10 thought leaders in the area of class actions.

Riley has represented clients facing bet-the-company cases in a wide range of complex civil litigation matters in federal and state courts across the country. She has served as trial counsel in federal court bench trials, jury trials and arbitration proceedings. In addition to her experience in private practice, she also worked as in-house counsel for a Fortune 100 pharmaceutical and medical device company. In that role, Riley investigated, managed and resolved a wide range of disputes in the commercial and employment areas, including multiplaintiff, class and collective claims for discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage-and-hour and alleged statutory violations.

Riley is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (J.D., 2000), where she was associate editor of the Berkeley Journal of Employment & Labor Law, and a member of the National Trial Advocacy Competition Team. She is also a graduate of Vanderbilt University (B.A., magna cum laude, 1997).

Employers look to Michael L. DeMarino when they face complex class and collective action litigation arising under federal and state wage-and-hour and anti-discrimination laws, as well as government-initiated investigations and litigation. In his practice, DeMarino has defended clients with a national presence in numerous industries—franchisors, hospitality and restaurant companies and staffing companies. His knowledge covers the full scope of claims and theories arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act, Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. DeMarino’s practice also includes counseling and advising C-suite executives on a wide range of employment and business-related matters. Additionally, he has extensive experience in all aspects of commercial litigation, including the defense and prosecution of shareholder direct and derivative suits, trademark infringement claims and general business-to-business disputes. DeMarino also has a vast knowledge in defending product liability suits.

DeMarino is a graduate of the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law (J.D., 2009), where he graduated third in his class and was editor of The John Marshall Law Review. He also received the CALI Award for Excellence in Criminal Law and was a Fred F. Herzog Scholarship recipient. DeMarino is also a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross (B.A., 2001).

Rebecca S. Bjork works with clients facing bet-the-company class action, government-initiated or other systemic lawsuits with huge potential risks and defense costs. She has experience and proven success in drafting early pretrial motions, writing persuasive trial court and appellate briefs, assembling evidence to support them and creating successful litigation strategies. Bjork has years of experience applying her skills and talents to defending clients in complex litigation matters in labor and employment, products liability and consumer fraud law. As a result, she is well-versed in advanced litigation strategies and tactics, particularly in defending against class actions. Bjork has successfully helped manage multidistrict litigation proceedings for a client facing thousands of individual lawsuits filed in state courts. She also reached beneficial results in settling a class action that involved more than 6 million class members. Bjork successfully defended retail and hospitality industry clients facing significant challenges in systemic employment discrimination investigations and class actions. In addition, she has defended against state and federal agency litigation and investigations, negotiating and consummating favorable settlements. With experience in many different areas of substantive law in which class action and systemic litigation problems tend to arise, Bjork has become well-versed in the intricacies of class action defense. She has even published an analysis piece in this field, as well as spoken at CLE webinars aimed at educating others about class action defense strategies.

Bjork is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center (J.D., 2001), the University of Southern California (Ph.D., 1989), the University of North Texas (M.A., 1985) and the University of Minnesota (B.A., 1983).

Brandon L. Spurlock is an experienced attorney with national, senior level leadership experience in the technology sector. Most recently, Spurlock served as national manager at Thomson Reuters, managing teams that enabled law firms and corporate legal departments to develop and utilize technology innovations to acquire new business, optimize team communication and collaboration and engage clients. In this role, Spurlock oversaw the application and implementation of automated, digital and artificial intelligence technologies to enable new business acquisition, process improvement initiatives and cross-functional groups of business leaders and account managers. For more than a decade, he was a practicing attorney concentrating on complex employment discrimination and wage-and-hour class and collective action matters at Seyfarth Shaw LLP and was also a federal prosecutor in the Northern District of Illinois. He is well-versed in all aspects of the e-discovery process.

Spurlock is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law (J.D., 2002) and Hawaii Pacific University (B.A., 1999). He also served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Aaron A. Bauer leverages his skills and experience in legal research and technology to help his clients reach favorable outcomes as they navigate a growing web of local, state and federal employment laws, as well as increasingly complex employment litigation and compliance matters. He represents clients in wage-and-hour class and collective actions and claims of discrimination arising under Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Bauer also represents clients in state and federal investigations of discrimination and retaliation. In addition to his litigation practice, Bauer has advised clients on a wide range of employment law matters, including paid sick leave, paid family medical leave, FMLA leave, USERRA leave, drug and alcohol testing, employee discipline and employee terminations. Before law school, Bauer served as an active duty armor officer in the U.S. Army.

Bauer is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law (J.D., 2020), where he was president of the Veterans Law Society, and the University of California, Berkeley (B.A., 2013), where he was an ROTC distinguished military graduate.

Alex W. Karasik defends employers in a wide range of employment law matters, including class and collective actions, wage-and-hour collective actions and single-plaintiff discrimination claims. In addition to his labor and employment practice, Karasik has assisted with a variety of pro bono matters, including cases involving the return of internationally abducted children under the Hague Convention and petitions for certificates of good conduct for felons in Chicago. While studying at the University of Southern California, Karasaik spent more than five years working with the USC Trojans football team, where he earned two Rose Bowl rings working under future Super Bowl-winning coach Pete Carroll. He also worked at Fox Sports, where he assisted in the production of NFL and MLB highlights.

Karasik is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School (J.D., 2015), where he was symposium editor of the Journal of Legislation and president of the Sports, Communication & Entertainment Law Forum. He is also a graduate of the University of Southern California (M.A., 2012, B.A., 2010).

Gregory Tsonis has represented clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to startups facing complex litigation, including actions involving the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Employee Retirement Income Security Act. He has participated in multiple trials and is well-versed in all aspects of litigation, both inside the courtroom and out. Tsonis’ substantial legal and corporate experience provides him with a unique understanding of the challenges faced by employers and the ability to provide practical and efficient solutions to complex business problems. Prior to becoming an attorney, he worked for a major big-box retailer in a corporate role involving coordination with store, field and headquarters leadership on managing various business risks. During his time there, Tsonis helped develop policies and procedures to avoid employment law issues.

Tsonis is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School (J.D., with honors, 2015) and the University of Chicago (B.A., 2005).

Tyler Z. Zmick represents clients in complex privacy and consumer-related class actions and in individual and complex claims arising under numerous federal and local laws, such as Title VII, the Fair Labor Standards Act and federal labor laws. He defends employers in class action litigation involving the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act and counsels them on the rapidly evolving landscape of privacy legislation, including biometric-specific privacy laws and broader information privacy statutes. Zmick has represented more than 20 companies in biometric privacy class actions and has developed creative defense strategies in those cases, helping clients obtain dismissals on the pleadings or negotiate favorable resolutions. He also represents employers in complex discrimination and wage-and-hour cases and has defended clients with a national presence in numerous industries, such as health care, retail and e-commerce, telecommunications, food processing, finance and transportation.

Zmick is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 2016), where he was articles editor of the University of Illinois Law Review, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (B.A., 2008).

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris LLP provides innovative solutions to today’s multifaceted legal and business challenges through the collegial and collaborative culture of its more than 800 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally. The firm represents a broad array of clients, spanning all major practices and industries. Duane Morris has been recognized by BTI Consulting as both a client service leader and a highly recommended law firm.